Retreat Security (and the ultimate survivor weapon)

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by SurvivorDan

This is the definition of a survivalist retreat according to Wikipedia.

“A retreat is a commonly used term for a place of refuge for those in the survivalist subculture or movement. Retreats are also sometimes called Bug-Out Locations. Survivalist retreats are intended to be self-sufficient, easily defended, and are generally located in lightly populated rural areas.”

In this article, I am referring to a retreat as the place wherever you opt to make your stand..…in the city,suburbs or rural areas. Your actual retreat may change by plan or by exigent circumstances at any time. I will be addressing only separate free-standing structures as apartments and condos have a whole host of other security concerns because of overlapping services, adjoining living spaces, common areas, etc. That circumstance would require a separate dedicated examination to do it justice.

Concealment and Misdirection:

The first and most passively protective technique is to be low profile. Make your house/cabin/trailer seems abandoned, run-down (nothing worth having here), decrepit and even downright unsanitary. Black ooze and dried blood on the outside comes to mind as does a quarantine/condemned sign.

In rural areas I would have heavily rutted dirt roads cratered with pits and littered with deadfalls and other debris positioned to slow vehicular entry to my retreat compound. Make them walk in or drive in slowly if they insist on trespassing. Plant thorny and dense plants in perimeter areas to deter intruders who are afoot and if necessary funnel them into the killing (last resort) zones you want them in.

Board up your windows and smudge the glass with a soapy film. Looks terribly unappealing, offers little intel and affords additional concealment and even a bit of cover. Make certain you have a way to make a visual check near the boarded windows. And as always, have contingency plans to deal with any attempts to breach your security.

If you have an old out building with little of value in it, make it look overly secured so scavengers focus on that building. Such structures and large gear may be booby-trapped to give off an alarm, injure or trap an intruder/robber.

Some suggest living somewhere other than the main obvious living structure on the property. It may seem a bit extreme but there is some merit to that during ‘interesting’ times. A section of the barn may be converted to living quarters. The underground storm or bomb shelter comes to mind. If your ‘residence’ is suddenly and violently attacked by evil-doers you will be in a better position to hide from them or counter-attack with the element of surprise.

Folks with bad intent who have the forethought to ‘case’ your property will pick up on patterns, routines.When you do things. Where you go to regularly. Whether you are apparently armed or not and when. Etc. So don’t be a creature of habit. Break up your routine. Leave the property in a different direction each time. Mix it up. Leave them wondering. Wave back at the house when you are leaving even if no one else is there. Give the evil doers little or bad intel.

An elevated water tank should be replaced with an underground cistern. A visible water tank just advertises for curious and desperate folks to come a calling. Hide any pipes and pumping mechanisms to ensure your cistern remains low profile.

Some suggest hiding all your stores in or under several decrepit outbuildings. If one gets discovered or you are forced to negotiate and surrender ‘all’ of your stores then you still have additional resources. If someone has to enter my retreat I want that person to see very little in terms of food, useful items or creature comforts. Let them let slip in conversation or purposely report to the wrong kind of people that I have very little worth taking.

I do not have external metal security doors as I believe that sends the wrong message. My new doors and hardware will take a battering ram to defeat. But the doors themselves are innocuous in appearance. They do not scream….security door, I-have-good-stuff-to-protect-door, etc. Low profile.

Make sure your breaker box is very secure and the meter covered if you are still on the grid. Don’t wantfolks seeing your electric meters running nor have them easily shut off your power. Likewise place any solar panels so they are low profile even if such placement does not give you maximum power output. More security for less power.

Use propane and other fuels for cooking that generate little smoke for obvious OpSec reasons. If you must use smoky fuels like wood, charcoal, etc. then cook just before dawn and right at dusk. Also use your driest fuels as they will put off less smoke. It is not just the sight but the smell of your fire that may draw the curious and desperate. If you must cook aromatic foods then do so only very late at night or on a rainy day as there are less tangos out and about at that time.

Bury all your refuse as an exposed garbage heap offers reams of information about what you have in your retreat. Bury all your human waste.Small footprint equals low profile.

If you have a running vehicle and fuel for it, make sure it doesn’t look too fancy. If you go into town complain about it what a worthless heap it is. Don’t forget to be low profile yourself.I can go in to town looking shabby chic with a brace of pistols hidden on me rather than sporting my tactical vest, Danner boots and my decked out AR-15.

Conceal your vehicle and limit access to it on your property. Make sure the vehicle has a solid bumper in case you have to push anything or intentionally hit anything/anyone with it. At close quarters a motor vehicle is far deadlier than any handgun you own. Even if you seldom drive it, always keep it fueled up and ready to go (and stocked with supplies. Your primary vehicle should be fully fueled, mechanically perfect and OpSec ugly.

Hardening:

What can we do to make our retreat more of a turtle’s shell than a banana slug’s skin?

Let’s start with the outside. Even if you are in the suburbs you can artfully arrange large boulders and logs (perimeter safety barriers) to prevent bad folks from ramming your dwelling. And don’t make the boulders too large. In fact, you should reduce the available cover around your property. Give yourself a clear field fire

Out here in the desert I recommend several medium size cholla (‘jumping’ cactus) or a bunch of catclaw in front of your windows. They offer little concealment but are the devil when you brush up against them. In other climes any low growing nasty thorny plants may be the ticket for this outside layer of window defense.

Solid doors are absolutely crucial and don’t neglect the hardware and beefing up the door jambs. A solid steel door is useless if the door frame splinters to one good kick. An internal hallway mounted steel mesh security door will greatly increase the defendability of your retreat. It stops or slows the intruders and creates that desirable choke point where you will have an advantage from your prepared defensive positions. It also gives you time to use a trapdoor or escape tunnel.

My friend has a wrought iron security door inside the front hallway. He has one off the kitchen hall as well. Any intruder breaching the outer doors is bottled up in my buddy’s kill zone. He has several prepared positions that offer cover as well as concealment even from rifle fire. The iron security doors create choke points. Therein await other noisy and nasty surprises. Gives my buddy time to employ other counter measures. Dreadful ones.

At first he had planned to install a mechanism to close off their exit and trap his intruders. {Ex-Rangers are a little nuts} I discouraged him from doing that as now injured and frightened intruders may fight furiously like trapped animals. Stop them, punish them but leave them an escape route (if they have survived your countermeasures). Let them go lick their wounds(bleed out) and dwell on the folly of their ways. I might want to kill every intruder attempting to violate my castle but I am aware that while one KIA means one less foe, one wounded usually takes at least two more enemies out of the fight as they must render 1st aid to the wounded or even evacuate him from the area.

Next there are the windows. I recommended boarding them up and I would add heavy curtains and wrought iron bars out of sight on the insides. Some will disagree, after all, what good is surviving the Collapse if you have to hide in the dark like a gopher forever? I get it. Find the level of window security that you are comfortable with. But you have to limit ingress by nefarious persons somehow. Booby trap and alarm your windows or get a pair of big pit bulls inside the house…fine. Just do something to limit easy window entry by tangos. If you choose not to board up your windows, have the materials you need cut and ready for when you have a warning of impending threats both from nature and aggressive persons.

I have heavy hardwood bookshelves adjacent to the windows. Provides better cover than most walls. I can push them in front of windows and brace them if necessary. And actual books on them are fair bullet stoppers. During a firefight, rounds may come through your walls and anything that slows or stops them is desirable.Speaking of incoming rounds, several pre-positioned 1st aid kits would be desirable.

Layering your defenses is the best course of action. One layer after the other until even the determined tango is advertising his presence by moaning in pain and cursing, or is discouraged and may be even stopped entirely. My ex-Ranger buddy puts nasty spiked strips inside, directly in front of all eight 1st floor windows every night and removes them in the morning. I have dogs to worry about and I am a bit bemused and absent-minded in the morning and would doubtless impale myself (while moaning in pain and cursing) so I have passed on the spike strips. For those that live alone and are very disciplined, you may want to lay out the spiked welcome mat during interesting times.

Alarms / Detection / Booby traps:

One of the best and oldest alarm systems used by mankind is the domesticated dog. It has been postulated that part of our rise to the top of the food chain and dominance on the planet is at least in part due to our long partnership with dogs. For countless millennia they have served as our early warning systems, carried and pulled burdens, hunted for us and fought alongside us in serious social situations. Their heightened sense of smell and hearing and their teeth make them an invaluable partner for defense of the retreat. Those of you with hunting dogs are doubly blessed.

I have seen others write that the protein requirement of dogs makes them unaffordable in a SHTF or EOTWAWKI situation. I respectfully disagree as the added security they offer offsets their food consumption. You don’t need a very large dog but only an alert and territorial one. I have a 6 lb mutt (the dominant dog) that patrols my house and challenges anyone who gets close. Granted, I have her sidekick, a 90 lb pitbull who’s very appearance alone can provide a deterrent effect like few other dogs.

But if I had to choose only one,I would keep the little dog. The pit is not very territorial and he seldom is alert to a possible intruder until the little one barks. And the little one eats very little. Though as dogs are non-obligate carnivores you can feed them a variety of other foods if little meat is available. For those of you who also have a rooster in the henhouse, they are another layer of your alarm system as are peacocks, ostriches, ornery goats, etc.

Obviously a good modern alarm system with motion sensors is ideal. I have one and it works well….while I still have electricity.

I am herein addressing mechanical/jerry-rigged and non-electrical alarm systems only. Firstly, my doors have bells hanging on them.I always hear them open and close. I can disable them if I need to leave undetected. Outside and inside the retreat one can run some 8 lb test line through eyelets and hang bells and cans to create a noisy greeting for intruders. A few well placed empty beer bottles can create quite a ruckus if disturbed in the night. You will have some false alarms but that comes with any alarm system. Calmly check out all triggered alarms. React butdon’t overreact.

Alarm systems and booby traps are limited only by your imagination and ingenuity. I’m sure all the hunters,trappers, LEOs and ex-combat arms types who visit this blog can offer us a plethora of creative devices to detect and deal with unwanted visitors.

I will therefore only suggest a couple of the more obvious and simple to construct and leave it up to the Wolfpack to present their own ‘recipes’ for the unannounced visitor who comes as a thief in the night.

Anyone who has made simple powered snares can rig a few trip wires in the weeds or behind any outbuildings. Rig the trip wires high enough that bunnies, chickens, dogs and such don’t trip them. When the power poles are released they vigorously wave some bells or pebble filled cans about alerting you to your ‘guest’. You can pre-site the poles without setting trip wires except during heightened security periods. There are a myriad of potential jerry-rigged alarms one can set up limited only by your imagination. The only wrong alarm system is the lack of any or one that you neglected to set. Get creative!

To detect whether any intruders have been scouting or ‘casing’ your property and dwelling, place some disturbance markers around your property including on your doors and windows to indicate if they are moved or disturbed. Such can include but not be limited to small pieces of tape, small twigs or stones strategically placed on or about doorways and windows on your residence and outbuildings anytime you are away or during the night.

Trackers such as those employed by the Border Patrol may drag a heavy ‘rake’ for miles along a dirt roadway to obliterate previous footprints and thus creating a ‘trap’ for fresh prints. You can accomplish the same around the perimeter of your property by dragging a piece of old chain link fencing behind a jeep or ATV.

If you live in the ‘burbs’ you can neatly rake the dirt,sand or gravel adjacent to your house in the pretext of tidiness while creating a smaller ‘trap’ for anyone prowling about your dwelling. Knowing that someone has been reconning your property can be an invaluable early warning. If you detect such signs, take counter measures. Plan. Prepare. Discourage the would be attackers/burglars. Beef up security.Harden up. The best fight is the one you can avoid be being pre-emptive.

Booby traps. My buddy has some deadly ones that he sets at night. I think the possibility of killing the wrong person or yourself for that matter negates the benefits of lethal traps. But I can see a need for multiplication of self-defense efforts over a larger area via booby traps. More efficient, just as many animal traps set to provide wide coverage are more efficient than you stalking and hunting as the snares can cover a larger area and work while you are engaged in activities other than standing watch over your retreat.

We may disagree but I will set less-than-lethal traps. I have an LEO/grandpa mindset and worry about accidentally strangling or skewering my grandchildren, a lost and confused stranger, my big pit bull or even myself. But that’s just me. If I rig a pig spike it will be sans spikes but give quite a wallop to an intruder. A deadfall will be painful and perhaps bone breaking in nature but not likely to kill a human.

A 12 gauge ‘pest control’booby trap will make a ruckus and fire pepper gas but have no shot. A powered snare will ruin your day and alert me to your presence but not drag you into a wall of punji stakes. And any such trap will be rigged with tin can noisemakers (pin flares?) in addition to the screams and/or curses of the ensnared of course. You people are so resourceful that there will be more booby traps designed than stars in the sky.

If you have no knowledge of how-to rig a booby trap, look up primitive powered snare construction on U-tube. Lots of videos to teach you the basic types of fixed snares and powered traps. (There are also videos on making VietCong style traps. Sadly, the VC were really good at it.)

As this is Mr Creekmore’s site and a subject that I believe he is knowledgable about, I will leave it up to him to recommend videos and books on snares and traps. This is a win/win activity for the uninitiated as it will teach them to build traps they can also use to acquire game with.

Once you experiment with and learn a few simple principles of trap building you can construct and modify booby traps using your own creativity. Make them deadly or not as you believe necessary. Your call. Your responsibility. Remember all traps intended to do harm to another person are illegal and you can be sued, jailed or both if someone gets hurt by your trap….

Escape Tunnels/Hidey Holes:

“Run away and live to fight another day.” That may stick in your craw but I recommend having an escape tunnel (steel culvert?) or at least a hidey hole. When your defenses are overwhelmed and all is lost then you and your loved ones should have a place to hide in or the means to escape from a determined assault on your retreat. Live to fight or survive another day. The plans for construction of a false wall,underground hidey hole or escape tunnel are to be found throughout the net.Choose a design that suits you and build it. Short of TEOTWAWKI, a undergroundhide may save you from a tornado or hurricane.

A tunnel may save you from a wildfire overtaking your home. At any rate, having such a back door or emergency shelter could only be a good thing.

Multiple Caches:

Don’t have all your survival supplies in one place. This is common sense in case of a fire or natural disaster and may not seem directly retreat security related. But what if you have to negotiate the surrender of your retreat to a superior force? Let them believe that you are giving up most or all of your supplies. But you will know that you have several hidden caches waiting. You can establish a new retreat elsewhere. Thus you avoided an all out apocalyptic battle. I know it would sting but an unnecessary desperate fight to the death would have been far worse.So multiple caching is also a good defensive tactic.

Weapons:

I recommend pre-positioning within your retreat as many weapons as possible. Bats, nine irons, hatchets, knives,swords {What! You don’t have swords?}, machetes then, staffs, compound bow, pepper spray dispensers, collapsible batons, crossbows,handguns, rifles, shotguns and ammo. You don’t have to make your home and property look like an arsenal. Hide them. Disguise them. Be creatively decorative.

Many situations after a Collapse will progress rapidly to or even start at a lethal level of force response in the absence of sufficient law enforcement. In such times, bad people get more stupid than usual and even ‘good’ folks can go crazy from fear. Behavior I witnessed at Katrina confirmed that weakness in human nature.

But there may be situations whereless-than-lethal weapons are called for. Use your own judgment but don’t deploythem without someone on overwatch with a firearm. I recommend personal size pepper spray, fogger pepper spray, taser (not touch stun guns), collapsible batons and bean bag or rubber projectiles fired from a 12 gauge. Also, I like to have sets of cuffs handy. If you don’t kill ‘em…..cuff ‘em.

Those who know my multiple gun-toting and shooting proclivities may be shocked at my assessment of what is the ideal retreat defense firearm. Use the long guns and pistols that you have at hand and are most familiar and competent with. We all have our favorite self-defense weaponry that suits us. A weapon is just a tool for me. I will use whatever tools that are at hand. The successful outcome in a fight is mainly determined by mindset and planning and not just by the size of the bore of one’s gun or the number of rounds expended. Out gunned? Adapt and overcome.

Use the old noodle and plan and scheme for the best outcome. I was taught long ago that the most powerful weapon you possess is not that .44 Magnum you carry or even that Barrett 82A1 50 BMG you sling. * The most powerful weapon you have is your mind. * If I use bad tactics and set up an ambush of a moving car with a crossfire from opposing 50 caliber machineguns, I am likely to kill my own gunners.

Instead, I drop a tree on the road and shoot my foes in the ear with a 10/22 while they stop to gawk at it. My point is that it is your planning, tactics and mindset that win the day. Not necessarily the large-caliber and powerful optics of your whiz-bang rifle. {Of course, I do love them whiz-bang rifles.}

I can’t teach the uninitiated military tactics in this one article nor do I feel qualified any longer to do so but there is plenty of instruction available from schools like Gunsite herein AZ. Get some training or train yourselves. There are books and teaching videos on small squad tactics available from Paladin Press (go through MD, of course) and other publishers of military books.

Before trouble comes you should have cleared cover from your property. ‘Uglied’ down and hardened up the retreat. Set up an early detection and warning system. Planned and rehearsed tactics with your companions for various what-if scenarios. Pre-positioned weapons, water, communications, binoculars and 1st aid kits.

Ranged your property and placed inconspicuous markers at set distances, ie 100, 150, 200 yards. Created fighting positions for yourselves and killing zones for the tangos. Booby traps placed and tactics rehearsed to drive or lure your attackers into them. Have audio and visual signals for changes in strategy (all good plans go to sh*t as soon as the bullets fly). Have a plan to retreat or hide if necessary.

You get the idea. Planning. Tactics. Practice. Weapons competency. Familiarity with many weapons (you may need to pick up and use an attacker’s weapon). Confidence in your abilities and plans. The willingness and commitment to act decisively without hesitation. Besides your mind, the best weapon is the one you have at hand and are capable with and willing to use.

Remember that you are not simply defending a survival retreat……it is your home.

{Notice I never mentioned the term ‘zombies’ even once?………Doh!}

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Nomad – 1 Person Standard Survival Package courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply, a One Month Food Pack courtesy of Augason Farms, a $150 gift certificate for Remington Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com  and a EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves. A total prize value of over $875.

Second Prize) Winner will receive two (2) Rothco Sure Paks With Heater courtesy of Camping Survival, a Wise Food Vegetable bucket courtesy of LPC Survival and a Wonder Junior hand grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $509.

Third Prize) Winner will receive 3 – 27 Variety of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds, 2 – Fruit Pack of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds and 2- First Aid Kit with Sutures in a Waterproof Resealable Bag courtesy of  Be Prepared Now. A total prize value of over $215.

Contest ends on March 30 2012.

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About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.

Comments

  1. Dean in Michigan says:

    Survivor Dan……..

    Great article. As I live in the suburbs, this is something I think about on a regular basis. I know I will not be able to get away from the city until things calm down, therefor, I plan on holding my ground for at least 6 months.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      I’m with ya Dean. I was living in the burbs in the middle of the metro area of a very large city and I realized I couldn’t go anywhere in the event of any major disaster. I moved out to horse country on the perimeter and have a better chance to get out if I get out quick. Of course Mrs. SD and I prefer to hold our ground here if at all possible. Good luck to you.

      • Dean in Michigan says:

        Dan….

        You make me jealous!!! Thanks to corporate greed, my house is now worth less than what I owe on it.

        A defendable house and a good bug-out plan are all I can do right now. Thanks for the fresh ideas.

  2. Great article, Dan. Not only the best ideas I’ve seen but your writing style is very professional.

    MD, the items submitted just keep getting better and better . I’m glad I’m not the one determining which is best.

    May all you Wolf Pack members survive to see post EOTWAWKI.
    Bless you one and all.

    Jack

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Nice sentiment jaxhaus:
      “May all you Wolf Pack members survive to see post EOTWAWKI.
      Bless you one and all.”
      Ditto!

  3. “Notice I never mentioned the term ‘zombies’ even once?”
    Zonvies, Tangos, Whatever, LOL

  4. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Good article. I only have one objection, that is ‘booby trapping in ORDER TO PURPOSELY MAIM’. If I knew only bad guys were there to steal or kill, I understand.

    But what if a person just looking to find SOMETHING to eat was hurt or killed by this trap. Someone not looking to make trouble, just seeking food or water to sustain themselves – does that give the owner a right to kill outright?

    Now a trap that simply warns the property owner and that person that they are under scrutiny and to ‘just move along’ – that I can definitely agree with.

    Not intending to start a flame war or anything, just trying to figure out the boundries.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Appreciate that point jr. That is why I mentioned that you can rig things without putting them under power until times are most ‘interesting’. And medium power snares shouldn’t maim anyone but ruin their day and set off alarms for the property holder. As I wrote, I am a grandfather and ex-LEO and have many concerns about booby traps harming those in my care or an innocent stranger. Heck, in my dotage, I might even blunder into my own if they were always armed. But traps can multiply your defensive efforts and work while you are doing other things.
      You can easily have posted Keep Out signs followed by powered snares that warn them further and alerts you to the intrusion. Your call. Booby trapping raises many ethical dilemmas.

    • If they’re breaking / broke into a building on my property, they already crossed the boundary.

      If you let the place looked occupied, you run the risk of refugees and/or “the Z guys”. If it looks deserted, looters (sometimes they call themselves scavengers) might be a problem.

      Everyone’s in a different situation, but personally, I likely won’t have the manpower to guard every outbuilding on my property 24X7. We have alarms, and a response team though. Looters will be shot, and provided a weapon for the pics if they didn’t already have one. Just my 2 cents.

      Great article SD.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        To each his own. I understand Red. And if my grandkids were on the property I might take no chances and do the same to trespassers. Thanks buddy.

        • Prepping Preacher says:

          imho, this is one of the best treatments of the subject i’ve read in the 2+ years we’ve been actively prepping… not too “techie”, not too vague but full of “idea-sparkers”…

          if grandkids and/or others not capable of/unqualified for self-defense or responsive thinking for the situation are present, the intruder(s) should have paid-up, well-provisioned life insurance in conjunction with a settled eternity… my “ZTZ” (Zero Tolerance Zone)expands according to the weaknesses of those under my watchcare…

      • Veridical Driver says:

        1. In a long-term SHTF situation, there will be a lot of abandoned homes, either because people permanently leave or have died. Scavenging permanently abandoned property is not immoral or criminal, it is quite prudent. In a short-term SHTF, it is common for law enforcement or rescue personnel to search homes for injured/dead.

        2. By reacting with disproportional force against reasonable people who are scavenging, you have now made blood enemies with people who would normally respect you and your property if they simply knew it wasn’t abandoned. It could very well be that the person scavenging was one of a much larger group who would have otherwise left you alone, but are now most certainly coming after you after senselessly killing/maiming their loved one. If you kill some local kid, you could have a lynch mob of your local community coming after you.

        And in a short-term SHTF, when your booby trap or itchy trigger finger kills a police officer or rescue worker, you will be extremely lucky if you survive the response long enough to go to trial and spend the rest of your natural life behind bars.

        Seriously, don’t be so quick to try to live out your action-movie fantasies. It is in your own self-interest to exercise discipline and discretion. Trust me, anti-social trigger happy assholes are going to have a low life expectancy if and when the shit really hits the fan.

        • Old Hillbilly says:

          When the balloon goes up and all the food is gone from the stores and those good honest “scavengers” (that never cared enough about their loved ones to prepare like I do) are out looking for food, I have a front entrance to my home…a driveway that leads to my front door. If they enter my property that way like honest people do I will be civil and ask them to state their business. If I know them and choose to give them assitance, I will do so. If not, I will ask them to leave. If they refuse to leave when asked, I will use force to make them leave. On the other hand, if these scavengers choose to enter my property in a less than up-front manner by sneaking around my out buildings or coming through a less used wooded side of my property in order to avoid detection, then they are paid for. I will not be “trigger happy” but will not hesitate in using whatever force necessary to protect what is mine. The lives of my family depend on it. Any person that would do anything less is not, at least in my opinion, protecting their family as they should. As far as booby traps, I doubt I would use any that are lethal…too likely to hurt myself or some of my family…but the use of noise makers attached to trip wires is definitely part of my planning.
          Thanks for a great article SD.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          Gee VD. I’m an ex-combat grunt and ex-LEO. I’ve seen gruesome deaths and I too don’t advocate living out an action movie fantasy. It’s only cool when there are special effects people and someone bringing you a Perrier after you ‘died’.
          I hope you didn’t read my article to mean that I am eager to harm or kill anyone. Far from it as those who know me better can attest. I and most others have not advocated using disproportionate force. No one should set a lethal trap except under the most dire circumstances and only a thoughtless, heartless fool has an ‘itchy’ trigger finger.
          Each circumstance will dictate the proper survival response and each person will have to be governed by his or her conscience and best judgement.
          Or as you state they will answer to their victims’s kin or the authorities. And eventually we will all have to answer to the Highest authority.

        • What is your definition of “scavenge” V. D.? Webster’s definition is:
          scavenge – verb – to salvage from discarded or refuse material.

          Forcing entry into a locked building to take its contents is not scavenging, items stored behind a locked door obviously haven’t been discarded by the owner. Death of the owner doesn’t change that, unless you also believe taking the wallet of someone that just died of a heart attack is scavenging too.

          Breaking into abandoned property that isn’t can be hazardous to your health.

        • charlie (NC) says:

          Veridical, your comment is based on a false premise. You stated “Scavenging permanently abandoned property is not immoral or criminal, it is quite prudent” Sir let me inform you in case you honestly do not know, private property is private property. You have NO right to remove anything
          from any property unless you hold legal title to the property or have the express written permission of the property owner.

          I’m not trying to be nit picky and I’m not saying that if my life depende on it that I would walk past a cache of food and starve to death. What I am saying is that I would know I was stealing and I’d be prepared to pay the consequence.

          When you approach my property that you believe to be permanently abandoned how do you know I didn’t leave it that way on purpose? How do you know I am not in a hide somewhere behind the house? How do you know that I am not just away tending to my hidden garden plot or hunting?

          I happen to own property and I cannot be on it to guard it full time. That does not mean that the tools and equipment left on that property is abandoned. It does not matter if it is a rock or a leaf or an old wheel or an old plow or a can of food or my old tractor. Just because it has not been used in weeks, months or even years does not mean it is abandned. Not now and not after the shtf.

          If you remove something from my property now and I find out I will allow the law to handle it or if it is something minor I might choose to let it slide. After the shtf my attitude will be much less forgiving and I will not be relying on law enforcement to protect my property. Enter and take at your own risk and make sure you are aware of the price you will pay if I catch you.

          Just a friendly warning. I happen to be a collector of antique farm equipment. I often hear other “collectors” say “oh I found this one on an abandoned farm”. No what they did was steal it from property they were trespassing on. There is no open land for homesteading in this country that I know of.
          Those days are long gone. ALL land and ALL property either belongs to some person, some corporation or some government organization. Nothing is abandoned, it is just not currently occupied. US citizens in Florida often proudly
          display the deeds to their homes in Cuba before Castro drove them out. They almost to the last person fully intend to attempt to reclaim their property when Castro is gone. It will be no different here after our flag goes up. The signs on my fence lines will read “IF YOU CAN READ THIS YOU ARE IN RANGE”

          • Is this related to how some will find the patio door to a rich person’s vacation home unlocked, and then manage to habitate the house long enough to rightfully be there?

          • charlie (NC) says:

            That’s a bunch of Bravo Sierra. I’ve been in the real estate and timber industry my entire life. If leaving a tract of land abandoned made it free for the taking I’d be a rich man. I know of timber buyers who have had to search down heirs to land and inform them of property they didn’t even know they owned in order to buy it from them or just to buy the timber rights. Often there are improvements on those tracts. Many times they have fallen down but they are still there and still the property of the heirs. Now it may be that laws and rules vary from state to state but I think that short of being a real estate attorney I qualify as an expert in NC real estate.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        Depending on the depth of the Collapse and the presence or absence of law and order for a prolonged period, whether there are lawless bands scavenging, how populated your neck of the woods is, and a myriad of other factors, each person will have to decide whether he will use alarm traps, deterrent and warning traps or more dangerous ones. I have written in the past that I prefer to use less than lethal force if at all possible. And i too am leery of lethal traps as I have stated. (Yes, my friend is a little nuts as he lives in San Diego and there is no state of emergency ongoing…I’ve told him that to no avail) You can choose to use only alarm traps as others have said. If the SHTF in a big way you can easily convert them to more dangerous traps. And there is always a risk of liability even in an apparently EOTWAWKI scenario. Your call.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          Josh: I am ex-military and encountered and used booby traps in the jungles. That was war. A whole lot more liability back in civilization as you state. Still a skill to be cultivated even if only used for alarm rigging and hunting.
          I currently have no booby traps of any kind on my property. But I can rig them during exigent circumstances. That was my point . Not that we should ring our homes with punji stakes before such circumstances. Or booby trap our entryways. I do like my friend’s inner security doors just not his nasty surprises.
          Your voice of reason and caution is a good balance for the paranoia of my buddy.

      • I guess it may be a good idea to look at a abanded looking property and check with the county to see if it is current with the taxes. You may find some deliquent and abanded property that way.I am just thinking out loud I do not know if you can.

  5. Outstanding Article! Well thought out and laid out in in an easy to understand and logical manner. You obviously learned the KISS approach a long time ago and used it effectively. Information or reminder that each of us needed.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Thanks HandAxe. But I’m afraid it took me over 50 years to get any common sense at all and I’m here ‘cuz I’m still learning every day from the rest of the WolfPack.

  6. “{Notice I never mentioned the term ‘zombies’ even once?………Doh!}”
    Not until you mentioned them.

  7. riverrider says:

    dan, great post, thanks. gave me a few ideas. one thing i see repeatedly is the thing about making the house look burned out/abandoned. if i’m a zombie wandering the land, i might look for just such a place to hold up, with the hope that some small morsel escaped the wrath. i would seek to use it as a hideout/recon base also. just my train of thought. we plan on hardening the retreat to the point of no one wanting to bother, or dieing in the attempt. difficult i know, but in my area i see little alternative other than dig a hole and get in it ,permanently. thanks again for a great thought provoking post!

    • RR,
      I kind of thought the same thing. Although a dilapidated building might not be a good place to take up permanent residence, for a refugee on the move it might be enticing as a place to hunker down for a night or two, with the thoughts that others may leave you alone. As a kid in western PA I would occasionally run into hobos who were hunkered down in old concrete railroad buildings with walls and roofs, but no doors or windows. Sometimes any shelter is better than none.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Good point riverrider.
      Maybe I should just make it look less attractive but not abandoned.

  8. Very well thought out and interesting postulation. Sounds like you have most of the areas covered. Not much I would take exception since different scenarios call for different methods. One method, which by the way is extremely interesting and right in line with the bag of dirty tricks I learned while in the Army was the second set of doors thereby setting up real security. Were my home to have an enclosed entryway like a hallway this would be perfect for me, however the best I can do is to do what I done, install metal frames well guarded from covert entry techniques and bolted to 6 x6’s secured to the bottom plate and into the mud sills with a long angle plate at the bottom and top inside the wall. Back door enters into a vestibule with the choice to go down to basement or up to house proper with door frames the same except these are angle plated to concrete and not too difficult to arrange a little surprise. Anything else would run the risk of immediate untrustworthy family members divulging my preparations for defense. Still struggling with the one who told his buddies, “Grandpa’s got a bunch of guns” so when they caught them after the unsuccessful break in attempt they admitted what they were after and where the information came from. You have to adjust your methods to what you can successfully camouflage. Otherwise the information is spot on as usual. Harold

    • SurvivorDan says:

      I just had someone at work tell me that they heard I had a lot of food and weapons. I scoffed and denied it. My prepper buddy(who works with me) blabbed in an unguarded moment. Jeeeesh! Know what you mean.

      • Main reason why I am depleting and spreading my previously stored foodstuffs and other preps. When new preps are made they will be closely guarded and kept secret from everyone. I thought I could take the grandchildren out and teach them firearms knowledge, marksmanship, etc like I did their parents. Not so in this day and age. They have watched too many rambo type movies and are just like the neighbors who will loudly scream if you exit the house with a firearm. “He’s got a gun, he”s going to kill someone. Makes no difference if you have a handful of targets, etc, the screams are still the same. Trying to explain the necessity for learning skills and knowledge that may keep them alive is useless effort in this modern entitlement age. Guns are not to defend yourself or hunt for game for survival but to pillage,plunder and otherwise threaten other people with because that is what is taught to them by the schools, news media, uninformed liberal elites and even the local law enforcement who have sold out.

    • For metal entry doors, I recommend using a steel frame utilizing steel U joints bolted into the concrete portion of your house.

      • You have lost me with this one Cain. How would steel u joints reinforce a door frame. If you mean j bolts cemented into the concrete and the frames bolted to same I can understand. Harold

        • You are tracking. Some of the doors I’ve looked at have the door bolted or welded to angle joints located on both sides of the wall. Other steel frames are of the uni-frame variety.

          I’m currently doing some research for my folks on metal doors and steel frames. My dad wants to replace the wood doors currently in place on his house.

          The door replacement in the basement is fairly straight forward as the steel frame of the door will be anchored to the cement wall and floor and encompass both sides of the cement wall. The frame will house an outer and inner door.

          The front door is a problem as that is all wood framing. Until I can figure out how to reinforce the front wall in relation to the foundation of the house, there is no point in a steel door since a battering ram would knock the frame out of the wall. I was downstairs looking on the basement wall for a possible answer to this problem. There is a steel I beam just above the cement wall in the front of the house, but I am uncertain if I can have some steel supports welded onto it to support the steel door and frame upstairs.

  9. SurvivorDan,

    Great article. Fishing line with cans filled with marbles works well. Use that method all the time to keep the neighbors critters away.

    I am now changing the subject. I live in a military town with three main air bases on the Eglin Complex with all sorts of Special Ops, fighter ops etc, The unified military EOD School, Ranger Training, and a complete Army Special Forces Brigade. Lots of military both US and foreign. And young military are always doing something of interest. Anyway, 2 accidental shootings this past week. A Marine atrending the EOD School shot himsself in the left inner thigh while cleaning his 40 cal handgun. He shattered his left thigh. The other incident would be funny if not so stupid. A Security Policeman (Sky Cops to the old timers) with the 96th Security Forces Squadron shot himself in the left lower leg. He was with two other Sky Cops. Siad he leaned on the gun. The .40 cal bullet went thru the leg, exited without fragmenting, hit the concrete floor richocheting into the wooden frame of a couch, exiting and then lodging in a kitchen counter.

    So you all reading this stay safe and treat every gun as if loaded. I sure would like to be the fly on the wall when these two get to “talk” to their respective commanders!

    • Umm where did you say you live? Also I didn’t know we switched to .40 cal thanks for letting me know.

      • Kyle,

        I live a few miles from Eglin AFB and am retired AF. Both individuals were off duty so they were handling their own weapons. As for what caliber pistols the security forces currently carry I do not know, but will ask next time I go thru the gate.

        • Ok cool. We are still using the M9 in the Marines anyways. Didn’t know you where saying they where using personal weapons.

          • The caliber of handgun depends on the type of unit. The M9 is still in service with the Army. The majority of MP units that I ran into while stationed at Bragg had a .40 cal handgun as standard issue. My last unit before ETSing out little over a year ago has the M9.

          • kyle,
            Air Force Security uses the 9MM. Asked the Airman checking ID’s at the main gate about an hour ago.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Yeah, I got a malfunctioning weapon back from the gunsmith some 20+ years ago and then I malfunctioned and killed a file cabinet in my office while attempting to unload the weapon. In front of my clients…….. They fled.

  10. George is Learning says:

    Great article, thanx!

  11. SurvivorDan says:

    Re-read my own article. riverrider and OP are spot on with their assessments. That’s why I love this blog.
    Indeed, it should not look abandoned but also not like ‘Better Homes and Survival Retreat’ pretty.
    The homeless are going to check it out irregardless of how it looks but the guy down the lane may be content with his own home rather than coveting my spiffy, EOTWAWKI chic, hi-tech looking fortress of solitude. S.D.

  12. recoveringidiot says:

    Good read, lots of things to think about on this subject! I’m not sure about making the place look abandoned, maybe just really poor(won’t have far to go on that one). I remember a sign some guy put up in Alabama after a storm “All my stuff is ruined and what is left ain’t worth your life” so maybe getting the place to look somewhere in between poor and a doomsday bunker is the question for me. I can hide my stuff and live on the edge of the property during any really nasty times and maybe avoid killing somebody and later getting the short end of the stick from whatever authority takes over.

    I really think things will fail slowly, I’m not banking on it and like having a plan for if things fall apart quick and this article has give me ideas on ways to protect what little I have left.

    O/T, my BiL has a new heart valve and is doing well. Might be able to come home the weekend if he keeps improving. He is a big tough dude and I expect him to work hard to get back in shape soon. Thanks for all the prayers and kind thoughts.

    • RI, wish you BIL well and hope it is a consistent and successful recovery. Our hearts are with him and anyone else who is suffering from debilitating conditions. I feel just like the Alabama dude and have known several like him including maybe himself since I spent a lot of my military career in Alabama. It has always been my aim to keep the exterior of my property clean and well kept looking but resisted the temptation to really doll it up to avoid the presumption that I was well to do. I even went so far as to replace a deteriorated front porch and steps with weathered but substantial lumber to avoid the raw newness and attention getting it would have provided had I done it with new. Neighbors took advantage of this idea and did not receive a tax reassessment when they remodeled last year like people down the block did. Harold

    • MtWoman (N Central Texas) says:

      RI….”All my stuff is ruined and what is left ain’t worth your life”…very, very good.

    • Copperhead says:

      Glad your BIL is doing so well. Praying for a good recovery for him.

  13. SurvivorDan, lots of good info great article. and recoveringidiot I think you have a great point in that we have no way of knowing what is gonna happen and how fast or slow. Make a fortress or look like Unlce Jeds cabin in the hills, both might be the right choice or wrong choice , the thing is you have to be able to be ready for both and be able to execute both. One of the most dangerous scenarios I can see is a slow fall when you still are pretty open with people and the wrong person comes by one day and you are not able to read them and their intentions. The great thing about your site here M.D. is all the info and other opinions we get to help increase our knowledge base and hopefully be able to get through any of these tough situations we may come to face but hopefully not. Wish for the best and PREPARE for the worst..

    • SurvivorDan says:

      I think as far as appearance of your retreat, that you summed it up well. I was wrong to say , make it look abandoned. It’s the over confident ex-soldier in me.
      ” Make a fortress or look like Unlce Jeds cabin in the hills, both might be the right choice or wrong choice , the thing is you have to be able to be ready for both and be able to execute both. ”
      I can always ‘ uglify’ my nice home if the slow fall speeds up. Not abandoned looking but not very appealing either.

    • MtWoman (N Central Texas) says:

      Hmmmm….a toilet on the porch? There’s actually a house up the street that has TWO sitting on the porch. No flowers in them either…..

  14. SurvivorDan:
    Well done! Looks like you covered most of the basics in the article as an overview. More idea’s to contemplate.
    I also want to add some offical looking warning sign to my preps for a post-SHTF time. I still have some old NBC signs from the service, but I’m sure there are better ones now. I also want something that says “Quarantined – BIO Hazard” and something about mines. What goes up will depend upon the situation. But this might also help with those that are just looking for a place to stay for the night, a BIO sign might do the trick.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      As I live relatively near to the Mexican border I might want the Bio-hazard sign is in Spanish too.
      (Not xenophobic as Mrs. S.D. is of Mexican descent.)
      She’s a feisty one. Ole!

      • SD:
        None taken, makes sense. (I wonder if they make them in Canadian?)

        • Your quarantine signs brings back memories of a tale my Dad once told me of an old man who was tired of his watermelon patch being plundered so he posted a sign that said “Warning, one of the melons in this patch is poisoned”. Came back a day later and the sign had been changed to read “Warning, two of the melons in this patch have been poisoned”. All is fair in psychological warfare but such warning signs as the biohazard, unexploded munitions, unsafe decayed explosives burial, etc might have a sobering and slowing effect on some of the intruders. Harold

          • If you’re in a rural area a fenced in field with a simple “Beware of the Bull” or “Please don’t enter unless you can outrun the Bull” might give one pause.

      • village idiot says:

        Prettiest girl I ever saw was a Mexican girl singing a song at a little dive/restaurant called Dos Amigos in Abilene, Tx. She sure looked fiesty, sorry I didn’t get the chance to find out.

  15. Survivor Dan,
    An excellent article. Gives me some ideas about noise makers at strategic points I want to monitor. As I said I believe we have already reached SHTF it’s just that not all people are feeling the pinch yet. When gas gets to $5 a gallon things are going to go from bad to worse for a lot of people. We have had several smash and grabs in the neighborhood lately when people leave their cars on the street. Noise makers will go a long way in curbing this.

  16. In the weapons section the author mentioned swords. I thought about that And changed my mind on that subject.A couple swords on the wall may be thought of as decorative or a relative owned them years ago.A sword cane is also a useful grey man item.Swords may come in pretty handy.You won`t see me prancing around in tights practicing though.

  17. I hope that you do not mind me putting my two cents in. There are several aspects of this article of yours that I am having problems with. Yes, I’m long winded.

    Regardless of location, if SHTF event or worse happens and you are part of a group, someone MUST always by on guard duty. Depending on location, number of people in your group, and other circumstances not included here you might need two people on guard. One in a listening post/observation post and the other inside the house on CQ duty next to the alarms or commo gear that you use. Perimeter alarms are no good if no one is awake to hear it (pointing to those that are heavy sleepers). Weather conditions may compromise your early warning system as well.

    Booby traps are a hit and miss. A deer trips your traps then you have to go out and reset your trap thus exposing yourself at the potential of being shot at. If your trap hurts a potential looter, but does not kill him there is a high degree of probability that he will come back with friends for revenge. There is a trade off as well. Booby traps give away your position and lets the other party know someone is living there.

    Part of defending your property is denying your intruder the ability to move freely into and through your space. Denial of movement takes on different forms depending on your location. For those in an suburban setting, having the back yard fenced up with seven/eight foot tall, composite fencing is a form of this. (Wood fencing would most likely be swiped for firewood by neighbors so stick with composite.) There are some tricks that can be down with painting and staining to make the composite look old. Keeping a dog in the backyard will help (The dog part I agree with SD on).

    If you have extensive acreage I’d suggest looking into tangle wire setups that trip star cluster flares when someone gets caught up in it. The tangle wire is not designed to trap someone but to discourage and funnel the intruders into a well prepared and easily observed, kill zone. Tangle wire is easy to setup and low maintenance. Barbed wire, metal ties, and as many 6 foot Tposts that you can scrounge up is all you need to create a tangle wire barrier.

    Most modern houses are so cheaply made that they rate poorly in regards to weather hazards and ballistic protection. There have been several new houses built on my block. Not one of them will stop a 9mm or .38 FMJ ball round or larger from going through one end of the house to the other. Do not fool yourself into thinking that the brick face or stone facade on the outside of your house will stop a standard FMJ round. A standard 4″ solid red brick will not stop a 9mm FMJ ball round. Most facades and brick faces I see slapped on houses are in the 2″ range.

    Reading through a military manual of defensive design for bases, the writers of this manual view is necessary to have minimally 8 inches of reinforced cement with two layers of rebar in it or at least one layer of 1/2 inch of hardened steel plate, then plywood, and followed by another 1/2 inch of hardened steel plate to stop most calibers. I found out from a company that specializes in hardening of structures that 7.62 armor piercing rounds take the steel requirement up to almost an inch thick mild steel plate or 3/4″ of hardened steel plate. Steel comes in many different flavors so this is only a rule of thumb.

    Why do the defensive layers need to be so thick? In WWII, one of the best weapons we had was the Browning Automatic Rifle. This weapon was famous for its ability to punch through a couple of inches of reinforced concrete and kill Germans located on the other side of the concrete. Take the .50 cal sniper rifle – the kinetic energy of a bullet a mile out from this weapon system has the same amount of enegy as a bullet just leaving the barrel of a 9mm handgun. In rough layman, think of a .50 cal round fired from a rifle as having the kinetic energy of a two ton car traveling 60 miles an hour (all wrapped up nice and neat in a tiny, little package.) Repeated fire from a .22 rifle is notorious for punching through cars.

    In a suburban setting, fire is going to be your greatest enemy. I am talking about Molotov cocktails and gas fire bombs thrown at your house by angered looters/refugees. The roof of your house and windows will be primary targets for Molotovs. Get rid of and replace wood shingles if your dwelling has them. I suggest adding a layer of .085″ to .093″ thick Lexan fiberglass to your glass windows to prevent the Molotov cocktail from being thrown through the window and into your house. Lexan is 250 times stronger than ordinary glass.

    Enough for now. I need to come up for oxygen.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Well Cain, if Mrs. S.D. ever runs away with the pool boy , I can go all out on the house. May hire you as a consultant to help me armor up the FortressSD. I have an inkling that you could do a nice article on constructing a hardened retreat. A house/bunker retreat.

      • I was in Home Depot today picking up building materials to repair part of my folk’s house that has succumbed to the weather and insects.

        They were kind enough to give me a free copy of Foundations and Concrete Work. What I have read so far indicates my knowledge laying and placing of rebar is outdated and what type of problems it would cause if implemented. Good stuff.

    • Cain,
      Thank you for some excellent points on which to ponder. I found this article comprehensive so getting long winded feedback is acceptable IMHO. Points made by the author followed by lively debate and opposing views without childish name calling is why this is the #1 best site for these discussions. Lots to consider and plans to make.
      Deo adjuvante non timendum

    • Pineslayer says:

      I have come to the realization that it is going to be a lot easier to build a separate structure than harden my house to withstand even the smallest fire fight. I can do some things, in some areas, but not enough. I have been looking to dig a hidey hole ( My Okie friends call them fraidy holes, tornado country), now I know that it is mandatory.

      Great ideas, unfortunately I now have another years worth of projects. Hope the end can wait until 2013. I agree with Mex?, the do-do has already hit and it will slowly trickle down the wall until the smell becomes normal.

  18. How about putting up signs reading, “Danger, military firing range. Unexploded ordinance.” The common folks will think twice about venturing in and the authorities will likely stop to reconnoiter and double check their maps and location. It may give you the precious minutes to begin responding to uninvited guests.

    Other signs that may be useful include the typical biohazard ones with, “Danger, Inhalation Agent Hazard”, “Danger, Contact Agent Hazard”, or “Danger, Radioactive Material Hazard.” People’s imaginations will run wild wondering what possible dangers are ahead. Any odd smell (compost/refuse pile or latrine) or sensation (imagined or real) will confirm to them that a danger does exist ahead and they should head somewhere else. People fear what they can’t touch, see, or smell and this plays right into it.

    • Dean in Michigan says:

      Maybe a hand painted sign that says, ” If you can read this, you’re in range”. Pour some blood or paint on the ground, make it look like there has been a kill there.

    • One of the best I’ve heard of is a large 4’x4′ target with the words, “You’re not Lost, You’re Trespassing” and “You’re also on camera”

    • Jay in LA,

      While walking came by a series of signs that stated. ASBESTOS HAZARD, do not enter. Contaminated worksite, stay out. The signs got my attention. Someone was tearing down an old home.

      Put up some plastic sheeting, some bagged up trash with duct tape and make your place look like a work site. Every one has heard of asbestos. I quit walking that route until the place has cleaned up and declared clean by the County

    • maybe have that banjo music from deliverience on a loop to scare off people?

  19. Actually, during certain parts of the zombie invasion cycle, a completely normal-looking house might just be the thing. If you need tools that work without electricity, would you expect to find them in Mr. White Collar’s den of modern convenience, or Uncle Jeb’s serviceable shack?

    Of course, during the beginning of a breakdown, Mr. White Collar will have to fend off looters after his flatscreen.

    As far as basic shelter, people will probably take what they can get unless you can safely make it look like your floor is about to collapse.

    As far as having to walk up to some potential bug-out location, voluntarily making a decent noise seems like the best way to get yelled at rather than shot. Am I thinking right?

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Approach. Yeah, I’d re-con it and then try to make my presence known by loudly asking to come in whilst keeping my head down ’till I had an idea of the situation.

  20. How about signs that say. Occupiers will be shot and have a picture of a occupy mask with bloodstains and a skatered forehead.

  21. Great article, thanks. I live in the suburbs with not much chance of relocating in the near future due to family circumstances, so I’m sort of limited in the things I can do pre-SHTF as far as fences, barriers etc. Stll doing what I can, I have a large garden, including some (still immature) fruit trees. I’m slowly modifying and prepping as time and income permits. The idea of the tin can warning system is especially useful in my area as I can string them along the top of a fence or other border. I do have a “barrier” of sorts of shrubs but they are not of the thorn bearing variety, since they border a public sidewalk. Instead I plant fruit bearing bushes. It’s not ideal, but then it doesn’t draw a lot of attention to me either. Most folks around here look at me as a sort of harmless old eccentric rather than a crazy survivalist 🙂 That sort of appearance is a large part of my camoflauge. (sp?) It might seem that people will look at me as a food source, but what I’ve noticed is that so many “sheeple” nowadays don’t even make the connection between my garden and the food they get from the local Wal-Mart.
    Anyways, thats my outlook on things. I do have two large dogs, both of whom sound terrifying on the far side of the door and will hide behind me when someone comes near. The do provide an alarm though and that’s really all I ask of them. Living next to an elementary school is not the best place to raise vicious animals 🙂
    I’m open to any and all comments, please feel free to contact me.
    Bill

    • SurvivorDan says:

      The alarm dogs are great bill for their alerting you and maybe slowing down an intruder but you will have to be the fangs of the pack. I like your ‘camouflage’ as long as you are an armed old eccentric. I assume that if the sheeple grab your garden’s bounty you have food stored up inside. So that might buy you some time if they are satisfied with the fruits of your garden. Cut some boards so you can quickly armor up the windows. Get some cheap additional locks for the doors and windows.Layering. I once bought a nice nine iron at a garage sale for $1. I didn’t want it for golf. I acquired a notched machete at another for $1. So you can add weapons on the cheap. And stay tuned to this blog.
      God bless you and keep you.

  22. Pineslayer says:

    My list grows, thanks.

    Spike strips, yea!
    Working on my choke points. Had a thought, fake defensible positions for attackers. An attacker will look for a cover spot to avoid my artillery barrage and will take up residence behind what looks to be a safe spot, rotten 2×6’s should work well. At night it would be hard to tell how solid it is, but you will know and they will be mapped out.
    I have been hoarding 5 gal buckets for interior protection, filled with dirt and lined up correctly. Easily moved and reconfigured. Need more ideas.
    Lastly, I agree with allowing the attackers a line of retreat( at least until the fence line), if you kill them you have to move them. Just my lazy thinking.

    Thanks Dan!

    • On that thought, if you go with the fake defensible position for the attacker go with soft plastic. Put some thin wood paneling on the attackers side to make it appear as something solid. On the side facing you, paste a target on the plastic along with the distance in meters painted on there in large enough stencil that you can see it with the unaided eye.

  23. Pineslayer says:

    To all in the Wolfpack.

    A big thanks to Mr. Creekmore for his time in giving us a place to exchange thoughts and ideas. We all spend a lot of time and $ preparing for the future. How can we repay MD for his time? I will look for the link to send a paypal contribution, unless there is a better way. If all of us sent $5 – $20, think of the prepping he could do.

    So M.D. please let us know how to send you a gift. Don’t be shy, we are asking. It is the least we can do as a group. Thanks again for putting up with me.

  24. Lots of great info. Being ex Navy didn’t get a lot of the ground training. Giving me some good ideas though. MD this is a great site. Only found it about two weeks ago and the wealth of info is outstanding. I’ve only been prepping for about a year. Keep up the great work and all you Wolfpack members keep dishing out the stright info.

  25. Oh I like this! Much needed information to get you thinking. Thanks!

  26. David the new one says:

    Good article and thoughful discussions.

    Just wanted to let everyone know that booby traps are illegal in all 50 states. I do not recommend them unless you are in a total anarchy situation and there is no more law and order. Even then I have difficulties with innocent victims. The reason they are illegal is partly for the same reasons given by others. The wrong person could be killed or suffer “serious bodily injury”. (an important phrase) The other rationale, is that booby traps are usually set up when the home owner is away. A silent sentinel. Thus you lose the “defending your life” defense. You don’t not have the right to take the life of a human just because they trespass on property. The castle doctrine (greatly expanded and now a misnomer) allows you to use deadly force when the break in or if life and property are in imminent danger. They do not actually have to be in the house. Courts hold people strictly liable for all injuries, damage and deaths caused by traps. (my area of expertise)

    I was looking online about a safe room for tornados. Texas Tech did studies on various components. I will have to get the link. They did not test small projectiles such as 7.62 rounds. But I think that the construction to withstand a 2×6/100mph could also withstand a bullet. But I may be wrong. Anyone know? (not my area of expertise). They have great info on construction requirements.

    I live in the ‘burbs. I have houses all around me. I cannot afford to move. Last night, before reading this, I was standing on my back deck counting the number of places a person could hide and shot at my house. They would of course have to trespass on neighbors’ property, but, the neighbors would already be at a fema camp or hiding in the bathtub. I could handle a few looters. I could even handle a group coming down the street. But an all out organized assault from multiple sides, … I can only try to take out as many of them before they get me. I have a lot of work ahead of me.

    • I think in a SHTF situation, few people are going to worry about the illegalities of booby traps. While it is true in normal times they fall under the classification of attractive nuisances are adjudicated in the same manner, in a real SHTF situation, law and order will have broken down much more than it is now and that would be one of the least worries. Just because a pile of brush was hiding a bumble bee’s nest is not your fault if some fool tries to hide under it or stumbles through it. There are more than two ways to skin a cat and the person who thinks and applies his knowledge in the proper manner will in the end be the triumphant survivor no matter what it takes.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        I see Harold that you have one of them ultimate survival weapons…..a mind. Keep thinking brother and persevere.

    • I’m in the process of writing up an article for structure hardening. I am also work on a couple of videos confirming what I am about to list here.

      There is one company’s specializing in hardened homes that list information on ballistic protect requirements. By their word, to stop a 9mm up to a .44 mag you need 4 x 4″ solid bricks stacked up against each other width wise with ample mortar or cement to keep them in place. The military manual on defensive design I have states the each layer of bricks needs to alternate from a left to right placement to an up/down. 7.62 and .30 cal needs 6 x 4″ solid bricks. Armor piercing 7.62 needs 8 bricks. If you are using stone or cinder block the same thickness requirements apply as listed above. 6.5″ of cement with rebar will stop 7.62 armor piercing.

      • Cain,
        You need to keep in mind that these materials and thicknesses are for one shot stops. A portion of the material is destroyed to absorb the energy of the projectile. Purposefully aimed fire at a single point of aim, will eventually eat through the material and penetrate the wall. If the concern is the gang banger spraying your facility with an AK, then these numbers provide a reasonable attempt at protection, but a well disciplined team attempting to breach can do so. Best to have additional barrier material available, such as sand bags in that case, and what and how much you need should be a part of your overall threat assessment.

        • I agree with your point.

          One manual I’ve been data mining has time in minutes how fast it takes a properly equipped group to punch through various types of walls and barriers with tools. The surprising part of this manual is how little time is needed for a man size hole to be created.

          ” Purposefully aimed fire at a single point of aim, will eventually eat through the material and penetrate the wall.”

          That is true.

          The defensive value over the length of a protracted firefight will determined by the other most layer, layer composition of the barrier, inner most layer and the caliber used against the barrier. The outer layer needs to be able to keep the innards of the defensive barrier inside the barrier. The layer composition of the defensive barrier needs to stop the bullet and have the ability to bleed off the kinetic energy of the bullet without compromising the structural integrity of other layers in the barrier. The inner most barrier is the last line of protection and needs to keep the innards of the barrier from spilling out from rounds that unfortunately punch through.

          While hardened steel plate would be my my first choice for the outer and inner layer, it is cost prohibitive for most of us.

          A cheaper solution which is considered more effective than sandbags would be to make your own Hesco Bastion barriers out of wire mesh fencing, chicken wire, or diamond pattern wire mesh used in stucco and geotextile cloth. Most of this can be found found at Home Depot or Lowe’s. These could be setup under the guise of flood/erosion control.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      MD made the same admonition of booby traps clear. And it does bear repeating David
      But the skill set is still useful to have in the event of TEOTWAWKI. And for animal trapping during exigent circumstances.

      I’m sure there are WolfPack members who will have an answer for you regarding the ballistic resistance of materials used in tornado shelter construction.

    • Hey New David, some friends in Tornado country have shelters that are supposedly tornado proof, look pretty sturdy, essentially shipping containers bolted down well. They would not stop a 7.62 at a close assault style distance, IMHO. have not tried to breech one, but have shot up many pieces of metal with various calipers and gosh that round can do some damage.

      Agree on the booby trap legality, but if things get bad enough I have some plans that might be less than…politically ethical. My family and friends come first. We all have different ideas of morals when family is threatened, Friendlies would not use anything but the front entrance, all others are less than friendly or just plain stupid.

      We all lots of work to do, but what the hell, gotta do something.

  27. You want bullet resistance? Check Earthco’s test of their Megablock against a 50 cal 661 grain Full Metal Jacket over a stainless steel core — muzzle velocity of 3100 fps and delivering 12,400 foot pounds of energy.

    Test results using 50 caliber bullets on an unprotected 8 month old wall that received 10” of rain:
    – 5-1/2” – 7” penetration
    – 10” penetration with two 50 caliber rounds fired into the same hole
    – 5 shots in 6” circle without full penetration on 18” thick walls
    – little to no cracking

    More videos and information at Earthco Building Systems, Inc. website.

    Simple earthbags would probably work also.

    If you want noisy alarms get some geese. You can always eat them when they get on your last nerve. I did.

  28. Zombies dont bother me , its the Trogs that I worry about .

  29. charliebuck69 says:

    Survivor Dan,A ton of great ideas here! Thanks for opening my eyes to some things.I am thinking of keeping some fencing,chain link would be best,around to anchor over windows to prevent intruders and firebombs,etc,from coming into my house.I want to get some solar powered motion lights also.Be Safe Pack members.Stay Low and Watch your back.GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!

  30. Navy Ken in VA says:

    Just one question. “if ya don’t kill em cuff em” OK then what?

    • Hunker-Down says:

      Navy Ken,

      Put them in jail with a HD T/V, 3 hots & a cot, then raise your neighbors taxes. Also, give them a doctor, a psychiatrist and the right to vote.

      Or, don’t use cuffs.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Well…good question Navy Ken. Yeah, I don’t have a simple answer.
      That would depend upon the condition of the disaster/SHTF situation. Is there a functional civil authority? Is there a military provost to give the attackers too. Certainly if there is a total absence of any law enforcement or civil authority one would have a dilemma.
      But is the more correct response to indiscriminately kill those who have been de-fanged and/or are surrendering. I was merely pointing out that in the heat of battle I want to have alternatives to putting a bullet in everyone’s brain. By handcuffing or using plastic restraints om the survivors I can make a decision later in the relative calm of the after action.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        Hunker-Down has his own solution. And in some post-Collapse scenarios it may indeed have to be the later…..

  31. Good stuff but take warning, a booby trap in less that WORL times will get you a manslaughter charge and most of the “less lethal” options out there will get you the same. Check your local laws first.

  32. As far as my security goes, its low budget. $$$ is tight but this is what works for me. A dog, by far the best alarm system. I know when Yogie bear is sniffing out my garbage. Or someone walks by by house etc. I’ve had a few, but the most alert by far is my hot dog. Don’t laugh, nothing gets by this little guy. Nothing. Eats the same amount as my cat. Get one. My house is small, which means once someones inside there just a few steps away from my bed room, or my kids. I cut sections on 2×2 and placed them in the corner of my windows. This way its difficult and loud to get them open. Yet they pull out in a second from the inside in the event you want to open them or get out IE fire. Stained them to match the windows. Should things get rough I have pre cut boards to run the whole length of the window bottom. I have the top side lined with deck screws (6) and two ready to anchor them down into the window once the time comes. Not fool proof, but makes for a noisy, time consuming, painful entry.

    Installed door alarms. Got them from Lowes for about 20 bucks for a pair. Put them on the screen doors. This way as soon as the screen door opens the alarm sounds. They now have to get through the main doors while the alarm sounds. The dog absolutely hates this noise and looses his mind when they go off. I have 2x4s propped against the inside of the main doors then I turn in. 2x4s hitting the floor at night makes a hell of allot of noise. Again there just leaning against the door, the slightest nudge and there falling over. Now clearly this does nothing to alert the “authorities” but it makes it real difficult to try and get in with out getting noticed. Plus the whole set up, alarms, screws, and wood was under $50.

    Good enough to wake me up and give me the time needed.

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